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Reflections for the meetup: Are YOU For Giving?

From: Jay
Sent on: Thursday, June 11, 2009 10:07 PM

Are YOU For Giving?
The paradox of giving reminds us that you cannot know what is within you until you give it away. And you cannot be fulfilled (filled full) until you empty your self. This is because the deepest level of giving is at the spiritual level. You may empty your home of its contents by giving everything away but the opposite happens when you attempt to ���empty your self��� at a spiritual level. The more love (not Hollywood love) and happiness you give to others the more you keep filling up from inside.��

This is why for most people it���s probably true to say that the greater satisfaction in life does not come with the receiving of a gift but with the giving of a gift. Somehow a gesture that extends and gives to another is more powerful than an act that seeks to take. It seems our heart feels a greater sense of fulfilment when it gives of itself, which may explain why emptiness often tends to accompany accumulation.

Most of us know this from our own experience. We might therefore conclude that the pursuit and practice of giving at all times in all places would almost guarantee a satisfying and fulfilling life. Unfortunately we learn the opposite and become highly practiced takers, acquirers and accumulators. Why is this? Early in life we absorb two of the deepest beliefs that will shape our habits of taking. The first belief is that happiness and success are dependent on acquisition. And the second belief is that life has to be survived, that life is a survival course, it is survival of the fittest, survive or die. These beliefs generate a continuous, free floating, background anxiety in our mind, which then drives us to gather the ���stuff��� we think we need to be happy and to survive, and to accumulate the money we need to build our systems and strategies of protection. Eventually we equate ���survival��� with both success and satisfaction in life and, as a consequence, we miss the deeper success and the greater satisfaction that comes with giving our self in the serving of others.

We also fail to recognize an absolute truth that states that our spiritual growth and mental strength are directly linked to giving. The humble acorn will eventually demonstrate the efficacy of giving every day. Within the acorn is the blueprint of an oak tree which is destined to absorb carbon dioxide, transform it and give out oxygen, thereby serving all creatures great and small with lungs! Its growth and strength is driven by this natural inclination towards giving, and if the oak tree were to cease ���giving out��� what it is designed to absorb, it stagnates and dies. The same happens to us when we forget to make giving the ���red thread��� that runs through our life. If we do not make giving the primary intention behind everything we do we can easily stagnate and atrophy both mentally and spiritually.

In a rampantly material world the vast majority of us are conditioned to want, take and keep. Those who are genuinely generous and authentically kind are often treasured individuals. However, it seems that more of us are hearing the call to give, to be more benevolent, and to make a contribution to something bigger than our self. John F Kennedy called it, ������ a care beyond the self���.

When many do hear that call to reverse the process of taking to giving, they are unsure where to start. Others find the habit of taking so strongly rooted in their personality they find it hard to change the direction of their energy despite good intentions. A few do get started but find the pressure from peer group or society itself to remain ���on the take��� so great that they discover themselves resorting to old patterns of thinking and acting, driven by a well established voice in their head which says, ���Get what you can whenever you can���.

So how can we begin to practice the art of giving while going against the tide of our habits and perhaps our culture? Here are seven ways to introduce a little more altruism into your life.

1 Sharing Responsibility
Is there someone at work or at home to whom you can give greater responsibility? It might mean letting go of a task or a process that you think only you can or should do. As you give responsibility to another you encourage and empower them. You are saying I value you and I trust you. And if you watch careful you will notice you are saying the same to your self!

2 Making Sacrifice
This means to forego what you want, or think you need, in order to allow someone else to have it. Parents tend to be good at this towards their children. However, if it���s done with resentment it���s obviously not genuine. The extreme form of sacrifice is to lay down your life for someone or some cause. Not such a good idea when it���s premeditated. Martyrs are not givers, they tend to be ���wanters���.

3 Being Spiritual
Perhaps the most advanced form of giving is the invisible, yet powerful, energy that you radiate from your being. Spiritual giving is the giving of good wishes to another in the form of your thoughts and feelings. Anyone can do this because we are all spiritual beings, but most of us will need to do a little ���self awareness work��� in order to eliminate the negative tendencies, like judging and condemning, which may have crept into our consciousness and which diminish the quality of our ���radiation���!

4 Offering Experience
Whenever you recognise that you are a little more experienced than another in whatever situation or field, offer to share your experience and/or even your wisdom. Not forcing or imposing, simply offering.

5 Doing Charity
Perhaps the easiest level at which to practice the art of giving in charitable work. Find a charity or benevolent organisation which serves a constituency with which you feel drawn to help, and offer your time or skills to further its work.

6 Finding Vocation
Some people go to work to exchange their head and hands for money, other people go to work to be of service to others and the money is a bonus. Why do you go to work, to get something or give something? When you offer the hand of help, kindness or friendship, beyond the minimum necessities in the workplace you are in the ���giving zone���.

7 Extending Gratitude
Perhaps the easiest way to create the giving habit is to find reasons to say thank you. Make a list of ten people and send them something that says thank you. The attitude of gratitude is the foundation of an aptitude that when used consistently and wisely very often results in altitude.

The intention behind every action and interaction will fall into one of two categories ��� giving or taking. Some give because they expect to get something in return, which means they are taking when they are giving. Others take because they want to be able to give more or give better. They are already giving. And a few give everything they have, either because they need to be seen as a giver, which means they are still taking, or because they respond to a call to give to others for no reason other than it is the natural thing to do.

Question: Prioritise the above in terms of depth ��� what is the deepest to what is the least deep.

Reflection: The most successful people in life are no ���go getters��� but ���go givers��� ��� why might this be?

Action: Make a list and create ways to express/send gratitude to five people in your life. Which of the above would be the best method for each person?

�� Mike George 2009

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